Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Podcast Review: A Painless Way to Improve Your Writing

Good writing skills are important in business, in everyday life, and in blogging. Even though I've been a professional writer for more than two decades, there are still aspects of grammar that I just can't seem to get right. Like many people, I have an aversion to reading grammar texts and reference, so I was glad to come across a useful podcast on writing the other day called "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing."

It's a short, friendly, four-minute audio program that covers a different aspect of grammar, punctuation, usage, or business writing in each episode, often using handy tricks to help you remember. It comes out a couple of times a week and you can subscribe for free through iTunes and other podcast programs, which means that each episode is delivered right to your computer. (If you don't want to download the episodes, you can listen online at the Grammar Girl Web site, which also includes transcripts of each episode.)

I haven't listened to all the episodes, but some recent ones have tackled topics such as:

  • When to use "who" and "that"
  • Using the Chicago Manual and other style guides
  • How to use acronyms and other abbreviations
  • When to use "affect" and "effect"
  • Using prepositions properly
  • When and how to use commas
  • How to use measurements (liters, inches, etc.) and abbreviations for them when writing
  • Good ideas for an opening sentence for an article or paper

Every so often she answers questions sent in by readers. The Grammar Girl podcast is a great way to improve your grammar and writing, and to brush up on the basics.

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